Expiry claims are food for thought

Two FamilyMart convenience stores in Shanghai's Jing'an and Yangpu districts are being investigated by market watchdogs after they were accused of selling expired food.
Expiry claims are food for thought
Hu Min / SHINE

Two officers with the Jing’an District Market Supervision and Management Bureau check product procurement and destruction records at the Jing’an Temple subway station FamilyMart outlet yesterday after “expired food” accusations.

Two FamilyMart convenience stores in Shanghai’s Jing’an and Yangpu districts are being investigated by market watchdogs after they were accused of selling expired food. 

A video by Blueberry Test, which bills itself as an independent review organization, claimed it found expired food for sale at 21 outlets of FamilyMart in 10 Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou, over a one-month sampling program.

The organization uploaded the video on Weibo yesterday.

FamilyMart denies the accusations.

Blueberry Test said it started the investigation after one of its employees bought an expired sandwich from an outlet of FamilyMart.

In the video, a director of the unidentified store offered to change it and give two cups of coffee as compensation. 

In addition, Blueberry Test claimed it also found other problems such as changing the dates of invoices at FamilyMart outlets.

The organization said it had kept video and sound recordings as proof. 

The two stores in Shanghai shown in the video are the outlet at the Jing’an Temple subway station and the Fudan University outlet. The foods were blueberry chiffon bread and glutinous rice cake stuffed with bean paste.

Officers of the Jing’an District Market Supervision and Management Bureau checked documents and stocks at the Jing’an outlet yesterday.

“We are checking the product procurement and records,” an officer surnamed Zhu said. Officers did not find expired food. 

The store underwent renovation in December and the surveillance camera footage before December could not be found, said a manager of the store surnamed Qian. 

The chiffon bread product had not been sold at the store for some time, he said. 

Qian said all food sold at the outlet is destroyed on the day of expiry.

A customer at the store Ni Wei said: “I often visit FamilyMart and buy bento, but I seldom check the expiry date, which I need to pay attention to.” 

The Yangpu District Market Supervision and Management Bureau said it had conducted an inspection at the Fudan University outlet to check if expired foods are destroyed, and the management of foods near expiry. 

Officers are also checking all 92 stores of FamilyMart in the district, the bureau said. 

So far, no expired food has been found at the outlets.

FamilyMart said it had conducted a check on all stores involved in the video, and did not find any expired food. 

It said surveillance camera footage at the stores captured repeated suspected “abnormal” purchases by workers from Blueberry Test. 

FamilyMart said it believed the article was untrue, and would take legal action. 

The company said it strictly controls food safety, and expired food is not allowed at its outlets. 

The convenience store chain entered the Chinese mainland market in 2004 and has more than 2,000 outlets.

Expiry claims are food for thought
Imaginechina

People walk past a FamilyMart store in Jing'an Temple Metro Station in Shanghai on January 8, 2019.

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